MURREE: Due to the recent unusual spell of heavy rainfall, disastrous land-sliding has occurred in the Dewal bazaar, the biggest commercial town of the rural areas around Murree, causing widespread fear among the locals.
More than 50 shops are currently located in the danger zone. The walls and ceilings of many of these shops have been cracked, and consequently, they have been vacated by the shopkeepers.
The consistent rainfall has raised an alarming situation as the number of shops within the range of the fissure caused by the land-sliding is increasing.
The Town Municipal Administration (TMA) has asked the shopkeepers to vacate the area to avoid any human loss, owing to the threat of further sliding.
Almost 60 residential houses are located downhill, in the range of the sliding, many of which have been vacated. Some of the houses have already been severely damaged by the land-sliding. The residents are thus compelled to live under the open sky.
Shopkeepers, including goldsmiths, grocery vendors, and restaurant owners, have taken their materials out of the shops and kept them in nearby houses.
Murree-Kohala Bridal Highway, leading to Kashmir, has been completely blocked by the sliding. Even the local transport is unable to move in the area.
According to a local, Khushbash Abbasi, this is the one of the biggest incidents of land-sliding that has affected this area. Hundreds of people have been affected, as their shops and houses have been damaged, or are in the danger of being damaged, by the sliding.
Locals have told Dawn that if concrete and early measures are not taken, this sliding can could damage many more houses in the area.
Assistant commissioner Murree, Tahir Farooq, visited the affected bazaar and assured the victims that the TMA will make all possible efforts to assist them.
Shopkeepers have protested and shown discontent at the negligent attitude of the elected representatives of the area. They have requested the chief minister of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, to take a note of this calamity and compensate the victims.
It is worth mentioning that Dewal is the native village of the current federal minister for petroleum and natural resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is the elected member of the National Assembly from the area. Victims have shown resentment that he has not visited the area to inquire about the miseries of the locals.